FAQ

Kyrgyzstan is a post-soviet country located in the heart of Eurasia, bordering with China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The country is known for its beautiful landscapes, unique sceneries and nomadic culture. Here you can see remains of real nomads and their lifestyle, in summer shepherds live in small grassland, which are named jailoo. This unique and endangered way of life attracts travelers from all over the world, who are looking for new undiscovered experience. 

Around 93% of territory in republic is formed from mountains and it is a perfect place for different kind of activities, such as off-road, trekking, climbing and cultural tours. Our company can arrange various combined tours in Kyrgyzstan according to your preferences such as: Active tours, Cultural tours, Off-road tours, some of them offer visiting remote and abandoned places, close to China. We will have a great pleasure to support you and provide tour packages for you, if you are planning trip to Kyrgyzstan. 

Below some practical information and recommendation to be ready for best travel in Kyrgyzstan. 

General questions about Kyrgyz Republic (or Kyrgyzstan)

1. What should I need to know about Kyrgyz Republic?

Formerly a part of the Soviet Union, the Kyrgyz Republic is located in Central Asia. It is a landlocked country of extreme beauty, with high mountains and alpine lakes Most of the country is mountainous, with the Tian Shan range taking up most of the central part of the country. This makes Kyrgyzstan a spectacularly beautiful place for trekking, climbing and enjoying with nature. Even though Kyrgyzstan is far from the ocean, the shores of Lake Issyk-Kul make for an ideal beach vacation. The landlocked climate means that summers can be quite hot, averaging around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) in the cities, making swimming and mountain escapes necessary, while winter brings snow and cooler temperatures (averaging around freezing), perfect for skiing and other winter sports.

Official name: Kyrgyz Republic

Government: Republic

Population: Approximately 6 million

Climate: Continental

Geography: Mountains

Highest point: Peak Pobedy 7,439m

Time zone: KGT (UTC+6)

Dialing code: +996

Electricity: 220V, 50Hz, European plug

Religion: Islam and Christianity

More info:

2. When is the Best Time to Travel Kyrgyzstan?

It will depend of what kind of activity do you want to do and what you prefer. There are two best times to travel in Kyrgyzstan: summer and winter. In summer time you can make: hiking, trekking, climbing, off-road tour driving, horseback riding, swimming, cultural tours and etc. In winter time: skiing, freeriding, paraplanning, off-road tours and visiting hot springs. Throughout the year you can relax in health resorts and boarding houses.

3. What languages are spoken in Kyrgyzstan?

Government language is Kyrgyz:
and official language is Russian languages. At cities and villages people speak and understand both languages. Both languages is available on Google.Translate to communicate with locals. In the south of the country in some areas people communicate in Uzbek and Tajik in addition. Young generation speaking English more fluent rather older generation, however English is not very developed. Basically, only in cities you can meet people who know English.

4. What is a national currency of Kyrgyzstan?

National currency is SOM (KGS). Here you can check the currency rate:

KICB
DEMIR BANK

Web page of National Bank: NBKR

Visa and Documents

1. Do I need VISA before visiting Kyrgyzstan?

Kyrgyzstan is one of the most open countries in Central Asia for tourists. The citizens of 60 countries do not need visa to enter the country. Visa free period varies between 30 and 90 days. The process of obtaining a visa for each country is different, it’s all depends of which country you are citizen. Citizens of many countries in Europe, the United States, Australia, Japan and other countries can stay in Kyrgyzstan without a visa for a certain period.

  • Here you can clarify about visa do you need or not, if yes there you can apply for visa. www.evisa.e-gov.kg
  • Here is a official website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic www.mfa.gov.kg
  • 2. How to apply VISA to Kyrgyzstan?

    Visitors who need visa to Kyrgyzstan can apply online for an electronic visa on www.evisa.e-gov.kg
    You can pay for Visa fees through VISA or MasterCard It is taking 3 working days and costs from 40 up to 65 US dollars depending on duration (30 or 90 days) and number of entries. Note: Kyrgyzstan’s electronic visa is valid only for arrivals and departures at three checkpoints: Manas Airport (Bishkek), airport in Osh and the checkpoint Ak-Zhol (Kyrgyzstan-Kazakhstan border).

    More info here:

    www.evisa.e-gov.kg

    3. Do I need border permits before visiting border area in Issyk-Kul and Naryn state?

    Getting to some of the most unique places in Kyrgyzstan, such as Peaks Khan-Tengri and Pobeda, Sary-Jaz valley, Kel-Suu lake, Ak-Sai valley, Inylchek glacier require special border permits because of their proximity to China. We are thoroughly experienced in the permitting process and can assist you in acquiring the needed documents for your adventure in visiting border area in Issyk-Kul and Naryn regions.

    More info here:

    visitkarakol.com/permits:

    Practical Questions

    1. What can I expect for toilets and restrooms in Kyrgyzstan?

    With toilets in Kyrgyzstan, you need to be flexible. Most of the hotels, guesthouses and hostels are clean and have standard toilets and shower. Quality of facilities and services in guesthouses can be differ, but usually all have shared shower and toilet inside of the houses. Yurt camps located mostly high in the mountains or pastures and doesn’t has facilities inside, shower and toilet outside. Toilets in yurt camps mainly little self-made cabins with a hole on the ground. It is always handy to have roll of a toilet paper, hand sanitizer and a light.

    2. It is possible to use credit card during trip?

    Yes, you can use terminals during your trip. You can find ATM almost in all cities and big villages, however it is difficult to find them in the small villages and not possible to find in mountain area. In cities a lot of hotels, shops and restaurants accept credit cards, mainly Visa and less rarely Mastercard. Rural area the system of non-cash payment is not introduced everywhere, most of purchases and payment for services is made in cash. Exchange office is available in all cities and big villages, it is desirable to have a bit cash. You can find location of ATM of few biggest banks in Kyrgyzstan:

    Demirbank

    KICB

    RSK

    3. Is there available internet WiFi?

    Wi-Fi is no problem in big cities. You can find it at cafe, coffee shops and free Internet in few public places. But in regions and villages it’s hard to find WiFi, some of them is private. So in this case we recommend to buy sim card from More info here:

    Megacom

    O!

    Beeline
    companies and connect internet. For example price of 4G internet from O! company is 95 som (1.3$) for 1 week with 8GB per day.

    4. How to Dress in Kyrgyzstan?

    You should always have warm clothes with you, because in mountain regions the temperature often fluctuates. List of warm closes will depend from places you will visit and activities. On the north of the country (Issyk-Kul, Chui, Naryn states) people can wear free form of clothes, there is no specific dress. However it is better not to wear short and provocative clothes. In the south of the country, it is desirable for females to wear more closed clothes that covers the body, people in south part of Kyrgyzstan (Jalal-Abad, Osh and Batken states) is more religious and you can be in the center of attention and cause resentment. Visits of religious buildings like Mosques or Churches requiring to wear long pants and women need to cover their shoulders and head with a veil.

    Transportation Questions

    1. Public transportation in Kyrgyzstan

    It is possible to travel around Kyrgyzstan by public transportation.

  • To travel inside city or village you can use public transport as a marshrutka (minibus), bus, trolley or taxi services.
  • To travel from one city to another city or village you need go bus stations sometimes it is several informal bus stations it is depend of the destinations. So you can use marshrutka (minibus), bus or taxi services. Only 1 flight inside of the country is available, it is flight from Bishkek to southern capital Osh, however it is also available summer flights from Osh to Tamchi (Issyk-Kul state).
  • Also available train from Bishkek to Balykchy city (Issyk-Kul state) during summer time, which is quite popular among the tourists. More info here
    Our company can assist you in transportation logistic if you don’t want to use public transportation and make your trip planning easier and more comfortable.

    https://visitkarakol.com/transport

    2. Is it possible to hitchhike in Kyrgyzstan?

    Yes, it is possible. Here you can find few recommendations:

    http://hitchwiki.org/en/ Kyrgyzstan

    3. Can I rent car in Kyrgyzstan?

    Yes, you can rent car at rental companies in Bishkek city. For example:

    carrent.trvlland.com

    ironhorsenomads.com/rent/kyrgyzstan-rentals

    en.evi.kg/rentals-car

    Food

    1. What is the food like in Kyrgyzstan?

    Kyrgyz cuisine is simple and it’s mixed with Russian, Turkish a bit Chinese cuisine. Almost in every meal you can find meat. Also we have a lot options with dairy products and meals. So every tourists easily can find food which he prefere. More information you can find here:

    www.zigzagonearth.com/food-kyrgyzstan

    2. Are there vegetarian options available in Kyrgyzstan?

    We do not have much vegetarian meals, but in big cities like Bishkek, Karakol, Osh you may find good cafes or restaurants and there available vegetarian menu. But in general almost every meal prepared with meat, but you can find alternative dishes with no meat. It is no problem with vegetarian menu, if you are travelling with our company, we will take into account all your food preference.

    3. Is it possible to drink water from rivers?

    Every river in Kyrgyzstan is coming from glaciers and it is quite clean and tasty. It is possible to drink but we don’t recommend for people who don’t got used to drink from springs and rivers. You better to drink bottled water or boil water or use some water purification tablets. If you are on the trek, you are in the wild to enjoy the nature and the thrill of it. Its very important that you stay healthy and do not take ill on the trek to have a joyful experience in the wild. Water is important during trekking. Water can be a cause of stomach problems on a trek. On the other hand, you need to drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Water in some hills are also the source of water for animals and wild animals on the higher area. Always fetch water from running streams. The faster the better. Stagnant water has high risk of bearing pathogens, irrespective of the cold surrounding. Whereas, as fast gushing water has very low chances of bearing pathogens in it. It even has less particulate materials. You will be able to fill up water from natural springs, it’s the best as it acts as a natural filter and has very less chances of having particles in it. Local people same as a lot of tourist don't have a problems to drink water from the source, however if you are not sure please bring water cleaning pills with you for the trek from your homeland. You will not be able to find water cleaning pills in Kyrgyzstan.

    4. Is there available good coffee?

    Yes, but only in big cities like Bishkek, Osh, Karakol. There is a lot coffee shops and available good options. For example in Karakol good coffee available there: visitkarakol.com/coffee_shops_karakol
    We are recommending you take coffee and equipment with you from homeland, if you are big coffee lovers and can’t live without it.

    5. What about alcohol?

    Almost in every cafe, shop or market available different types of alcohol such as beer, vodka, wine, cognac. However, if you want some good wine, whisky, tequila, brandy and etc., you need to find special stores or big super markets. We are not recommending to drink a lot of alcohol in public places and not celebrate too loud if you are independent traveller.

    Emergency and Safety

    1. Is it safely to travel in Kyrgyzstan?

    Yes, it is safely to travel in Kyrgyzstan, however be careful with private items in public places and don’t leave them without supervision. Trekking and climbing in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan is quite risky and not simple, we are recommending you to take at least guide with you, who will be responsible to bring you to write place and safe, we have bad experience when tourists were lost with fatal outcome.

    2. What if something happened with me and what I need to do?

    While you are travelling with us you are safe and you don’t need to worry about it, however insurance is not included to price. We recommend that clients have their own travel insurance against illness, injury, loss/damage to personal belongings. In case of emergency our staff will make all the best to delivery you to hospital or other point and solve your problem, insurance will cover your charges, if you don't have insurance, you will be required to cover charges by yourself. Below contact numbers of Government organizations, however they will not speak English. Emergency numbers:

  • Fire station - 101
  • Police (Milicia) – 102
  • Ambulance – 103
  • Rescue service of the Ministry of Extreme Situations – 112
  • Here is link where you can find contacts of Karakol’s organizations: https://visitkarakol.com/usefulinformation List of embassies in kyrgyzstan with contacts:

    www.embassypages.com/kyrgyzstan